The first playoff game for the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t go exactly how the team (or fans) would have wanted it to as they fall to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the first round series by a score of 4-1. The Maple Leafs opened the scoring for the series as James van Riemsdyk put the Leafs up 1-0 early, but it was four unanswered goals by the Bruins that did the Leafs in. The Bruins thoroughly outplayed the Maple Leafs tonight and it was blatantly obvious in the shots on goal totals which were 40-20 for the Boston Bruins.
The first penalty of the game and series goes to the Boston Bruins and Patrice Bergeron for tripping, and right away, the Maple Leafs score their first playoff goal in nine years. After Cody Franson did some nice work down low, he feeds James van Riemsdyk in front of the net and he pots it, 1-0 Maple Leafs. Almost right after, the Leafs take their first penalty as Mark Fraser sends the puck over the glass and it’s delay of game so the Fightin’ McClement’s will get their first chance to stop a below-average Bruins power play and they get it down, it remains 1-0 Maple Leafs after a few good saves by James Reimer and a post hit. Then, after a long stretch of play between stoppages, neither team can register a goal, still 1-0 Leafs. The Maple Leafs get another power play and this time it’s Johnny Boychuk for hooking after some great work by Mikhail Grabovski to draw the penalty. However, the Leafs cannot convert. The Bruins tie it up a few minutes later. Wade Redden with a shot from the top of the circle, and it deflects off of Mike Kostka and fools Reimer, 1-1. A short while later, Dion Phaneuf takes a slashing penalty on Tyler Seguin and it’s the Bruins’ second power play of the game, and the Bruins convert late on the power play and it’s Nathan Horton that deflects a Wade Redden wrist shot and the Bruins take their first lead of the game, 2-1 Bruins. Neither team can score with the few remaining seconds left in the period and the Bruins take their 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Shots in the opening period were 15-7 in favor of the Bruins.
Early in the second period, it appears as if Tyler Seguin makes it 3-1 Bruins, but upon further review, the puck hit the crossbar and never went it. Remains 2-1 Bruins. In the next few minutes, the Bruins control the play offensively as the Leafs ended up going 8 minutes without a shot on goal. Tyler Bozak had a partial breakaway but Kaspars Daugavins got back and stick checked Bozak, no shot on goal. Not too long after, the Bruins actually go up 3-1. David Krejci buries it, after a couple of turnovers by a tired group of Maple Leafs and it’s 3-1 Bruins. It doesn’t get much better for the Maple Leafs. Johnny Boychuk steps into an absolute blast and he blows it by Reimer, 4-1 Bruins. Immediately after the goal, Patrice Bergeron takes his second power play of the game, this time it’s for slashing. It’s the Bruins who get the best chances on the power play as they nearly scored a shorthanded goal as they kill off the Bergeron penalty. The Fightin’ McClement’s go back to work for the third time in the game after a Clarke MacArthur hooking penalty that carries into the third period as the Bruins take their commanding 4-1 lead into the second intermission. Shots in the second period were 11-7, advantage Bruins.
The Leafs begin the third with Leo Komarov receiving a 10 minute misconduct after giving a Bruins player a shove after the whistle. Not too long after, the Leafs kill off the MacArthur penalty. A few minutes later, Johnny Boychuk takes out Mikhail Grabovski with a hard, clean hit but Colton Orr doesn’t like it and he goes after Boychuk. When the dust settles, Orr gets two penalties. One for roughing and another for cross-checking. Andrew Ference also takes a roughing penalty but the Bruins get another power play, but the PK Squad kills it off. Still 4-1 Bruins. A few minutes later, there’s a scramble in front of James Reimer, and it appears as if he covered it up by Patrice Bergeron crashes the net and pushes it in but the referees waive the goal off after a review saying Reimer had control of the puck. In the ensuing minutes, the Bruins don’t take their foot off the gas as they continue their onslaught on James Reimer but they cannot score. With just over 3 minutes to go in the third period, Colton Orr takes a roughing penalty and is sent to the locker room and the Bruins get another power play, but the Bruins get nothing out of it. Nothing comes in the final seconds and the Bruins take Game 1 of the series 4-1. After the game ends, Leo Komarov fights Chris Kelly, even fight. Shots in the final period were 14-6 in the Bruins’ favor.
Now, onto who was good and bad.
On a pretty bad night for the Maple Leafs, James van Riemsdyk had a very good game. He was one of the few consistent offensive threats for the Maple Leafs tonight as Phil Kessel was neutralized by Zdeno Chara for the most part.
Yes, he allowed four goals, (and probably should have had the fourth goal) but James Reimer definitely was not the problem in this game. When the team in front of you turns the puck over and allows as many shots as the Leafs did tonight, you’re inevitably going to give up some goals.
I want to go on a full rant about this player, but it’s Game 1 so I’ll just say this: Mike Kostka was terrible tonight. Please, Randy Carlyle, play Jake Gardiner in Game 2.
I’ll just save time and say this, the entire Maple Leafs team (save Reimer and van Riemsdyk) played abysmally tonight. As I mentioned in my series preview, the Maple Leafs cannot turn the puck over with such regularity. Tonight, they did it even more than usual. They cannot expect Reimer to bail them out after every mistake if they want to win this series.
The Boston Bruins lead the series 1-0. Game 2 is Saturday in Boston, James Reimer will more than likely start that game barring a surprise from Randy Carlyle. Luckily for the Leafs, they will have two days to prepare for Game 2 and hopefully Randy Carlyle removes a couple of players from the lineup (Mike Kostka) and replaces them with players who will actually contribute effectively (Jake Gardiner).